FAYETTEVILLE-Sophomore infielder Kallie Foglesong hit her second home run of the year as the Arkansas softball team ended the first day of the Arkansas Invitational with a split Saturday, March 5 at Lady’Back Yard. The Lady Razorbacks defeated Mississippi Valley State 8-2 but fell to Northwestern State 5-2.
In the first game, junior pitcher Linzee Roby started her first career game as a Lady’Back against Mississippi Valley State but recorded a no-decision as freshman Katy Henry won her second game of the year.
The Lady’Backs struck first as they scored two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning. Junior outfielder Mindy O’Malley, senior infielder Ashley Carter and junior catcher Shana Easley recorded singles to lead Arkansas.
The offense stalled until Mississippi Valley State tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth. The Lady’Backs answered with six runs in the inning.
Arkansas softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton said despite the Lady’Backs sluggish beginning he was happy with the victory.
“I thought we started slow,” Pinkerton said. “I was real pleased with Linzee’s outing. We did what we had to do to win. We were on a roll when we finally made adjustments.”
O’Malley started the inning with a double down the left field line. Sophomore outfielder Rachel LeMaster followed with an infield, single and then she proceeded to steal second base. O’Malley scored on Foglesong’s groundout. With LeMaster at third, Carter hit a RBI-triple to give Arkansas a 4-2 lead.
The Lady’Back offense continued to produce as freshman infielder Dayna Huckabee and junior designated player Barbara-Jean Southmayd collected walks.
With the bases-loaded, freshman infielder Samantha Buckner singled to score Carter. After sophomore pitcher Sarah Topham pinch hit for senior Zenobia Davison and recorded a RBI-single that scored Huckabee, Arkansas added two runs on a Mississippi Valley State error.
Arkansas held the Devilettes scoreless for the final two innings to win its eighth game of the season.
In the second game, the Lady’Backs fell behind 3-0 in the top of the third inning against Northwestern State. Junior Valanna Lyons gave up three runs on three hits in the inning.
Pinkerton said former Auburn assistant coach and current Northwestern State head coach Mike Perniciaro deserves credit for his scouting report.
“Northwestern State did a good job of exploiting our weaknesses,” Pinkerton said. “Valanna pitched well enough to win but we made too many mistakes. When we made adjustments, it was too late because we dug ourselves a hole.”
The Demons held the Lady’Backs scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. With LeMaster on first due to a walk, Foglesong hit a shot over the center field wall to cut into the Demons lead.
As the Lady’Backs trailed 3-2, Northwestern State answered in the top of the seventh with two runs on three hits to take a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady’Backs continue action in the Arkansas Invitational with games beginning Sunday at 11 a.m. Arkansas plays Northwestern State at 1 p.m. and Mississippi Valley State at 3 p.m.
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to www.ladybacks.com.